The internet is a vast space. Online homeschool teachers have so many resources at their fingertips it can be overwhelming. One thing we harp on over and over here at Teacher Indie is finding a niche. Sustained location independence and a successful digital nomad teaching lifestyle require a focus business plan and dedication over the course of multiple years.
Over the past two Wednesdays, we’ve published Parts 1 & 2 of our series Homeschooling for Online Teachers. Today’s post is the final piece of this series. This article presents seven platforms for online homeschool teachers to thrive on. We’ve got an accredited online school (Forest Trail Academy), a social network (Twiducate), multiple communications platforms, and surprises. Let’s get into it.
This platform is essentially the cream of the crop for independent teachers. Present your lessons in a webinar-like format that allows the inclusion of pre-recorded video, specific screen shares and imaging. For student presentations or lessons featuring a guest teacher, up to 6 presenters can be featured in one meeting.
It isn’t free (plans start at about $33 USD per month), but the dependability makes it worth the cost for serious online teachers who work independently (i.e., not through a communications platform provided by their employer/contractor). Everything is in HD, and the call quality is second to none.
RCampus is an online classroom platform that allows remote teachers to assign and track work, monitor student progress, and host learning materials. The iRubric feature allows for easy grading, collaborations, and lesson management.
Their platform is about as close to a classroom-based, traditional organizational system as you’ll find online. Teacher Indie has noted A NUMBER OF PLATFORMS for student and assignment management, but for online homeschool teachers with classroom experience, RCampus is most relevant. Their Personal Edition is free with available upgrades, ideal for individual teachers wanting to test the platform. The Enterprise Edition is paid.
Learnopia allows teachers to create and distribute lesson plans for their classes. They can either choose to charge for them or give them away for free. Host and show off lessons to potential students and their families, and any other party you choose. Learnopia is a reliable and trusted source for hosting materials. Selling your courses on their site is a nice way to earn extra income as well.
Students can also access courses. As they work through them, you as the teacher can monitor their progress, provide feedback, and make alterations to adjust to specific needs. The site offers chat boards for communicating with students as well.
Of course, Google has a solid platform for online teachers. Many students are already using Google. This learning management system is easy to integrate into the curriculum for both you and them. It’s based mostly in Google docs. Both teachers and students can upload assignments, notes, and other documents. Online homeschool teachers also provide permissions to view and download them. Due dates can be set via Calendar, and teachers and students comment and discuss in the ‘stream.’ Google Classroom easily syncs with other Google services such as Drive, simplifying storage and organization.
As an added bonus, Google Hangouts is a good communications tool that, similar to Skype, allows multiple people to join a call, perform screen shares, and hold effective lessons and meetings via the web.
Students are hooked on social media. Why not bring it into the classroom? Twiducate makes that possible. Teachers can create a private social channel for their student(s) and communicate directly with them. They can also be part of a community of tens of thousands of educators around the world. Ideas are shared and there are many networking opportunities.
Twiducate is free, and promises a big upgrade in the near future. Best to get in the door now!
Forest Trail Academy is an accredited online school offering Elementary, Middle, and High School programs. Their teachers are fully certified. FTA is registered as a private school in Florida.
FTA stands as an example of how K-12 education can be taught effectively online, catering to specific student needs and career goals. We don’t mean to advocate specifically for their curriculum or school specifically. However, the rise in online education is widening the range of opportunity for both students and teachers, and this school is proof of that.
Certified teachers find a great online tutoring platform at Skooli.com. Many homeschool students work with a tutor to help in a subject they struggle with. Skooli.com facilitates this process to make it more productive and enjoyable. For online homeschool teachers, the platform is a great way to break into the business and gain some contacts.